Nansemond River Practice (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
A proposal to limit out-of-season football practice to August only has been rejected
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
The VHSL Executive Committee, comprised of representatives from all parts of the state and all regions of the VHSL, met today and voted down a proposed rule change that would have severely limited out-of-season practice for all VHSL sports programs.
This rule change was hotly contested among fans and coaches alike, with most of the interest in favor of the change seeming to come from smaller communities where available coaching talent is harder to come by.
The Executive Committee voted 29-3-1 against adopting the rule change.
“I’m happy the rule was voted down, the answer here is not to limit the access coaches have to the players but rather compensate them for the time they put in along with the product they produce, that of course falls more on the local counties and cities and not necessarily the VHSL” Anthony Bateman, Defensive Coordinator, Bluestone High School
Bluestone, by the way, is a Class 2 school which is at the same level as Region 2C where the rule proposal came from.
There may still be life in the idea.
Eric Kolenich of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the issue isn’t dead. According to his report, VHSL Spokesman Mike McCall indicated that the issue will be studied further.
The proposed rule change was intended to limit out-of-season practices for all VHSL sports to weightlifting and conditioning in order to free athletes up to pursue other sports and to free up coaches to lead more than one team at a high school. There is an issue with coaches being underpaid. The responsibilities for football run 11 to 12 months a year once you consider out-of-season practice, 7-on-7, summer camps and recruiting. In the case of football, there are no other outlets that can match what a high school football program provides.
Players can work out with travel teams for 7-on-7, but the real value of scouting and observing football athletes comes in a game situation with pads and helmets. Other sports can provide options with club teams and AAU. Basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey recruitment leans equally as much if not more on the club, AAU or showcase outlets.
Many parents and coaches suggested in social media feedback that severely restricting practice time would hamper the competition level of Virginia public school football compared to other sports. I have to agree. While we shouldn’t get caught up in how Virginia compares to other states, it’s no secret that Florida, Georgia, Texas and California not only have better weather for year-round football, but they also have years of a head start on Virginia when it comes to developing talent.
High school football in those states is a priority. In Texas, it’s a religion. Virginia doesn’t have to sacrifice academics or an athlete’s health in order to continue to progress in football. Limiting out-of-season practices is an obvious step backwards.
– Andy Hilton